Happy Father's Day from our family to yours! May you have a blessed day filled with family and love!
Freudenthal Home Health salutes family caregivers in the St. Joseph, MO area who are giving wonderful care and help to their senior loved ones each and every day. Our goal with this blog is to give information and resources to help and support St. Joseph, MO area family caregivers.
As a family caregiver, caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s making them feel loved and wanted through long-term care is vital. This is a very difficult and complicated condition that can progress over time without cure or clear understanding of how the disease progresses. June is Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month, so here are a few tips to help family caregivers manage the needs of their loved ones brain related illnesses.
Keep A Schedule
A person with Alzheimer’s or dementia is likely to suffer from extreme frustration due to memory loss and uncertainty. Planning a schedule that offers specific times for when certain activities are to take place with a bit of flexibility may help lessen that frustration.
Create A Comfortable Environment
Home may be the most comfortable place for an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient to be in. Try to allow that person to have freedom inside their home without being at risk of significant harm.
The in-home environment should still be comfortable. Try to manage the heating and air conditioning system so that it creates a comfortable climate, but also be willing to adjust the temperature based on your loved one’s request.
Try to make sure the home is well lit. It might be easier for a person to move through the house and creating a bright environment will make it easy for a person to feel comfortable.
Keep Distractions in Check
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia entails a person becoming increasingly distracted by various things. A person might be distracted by a television set in the background or by some person moving outside of one’s home.
Keep all distractions in the home under control. This will make it easier for them to focus on whatever the task or activity at hand might be. Getting rid of distractions also reduces the potential for a person to become overly confused.
Give Clear Instructions
From painting to crafting or even sporting activities, there are many great and productive things you can do with your loved ones. As you look at the things you plan on doing with them, think about how you are providing a person with the necessary instructions for those activities.
It is best to talk with them in a clear and easy-to-follow manner. Don’t add too much information all at once. Be clear and direct with your instructions and allow them time to hear and understand what you saying and asking them to do. Be patient and answer any questions they have as well.
Let Them Make Choices
Just because you are taking care of an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient, it doesn’t mean you have to hold full control over that person. Respect their desires and help support their general sense of control over their own life.
Always allow for a few choices as you are planning particular activities. You can allow them to choose what drink, what clothes to wear, and so forth. Giving them choices also ensures that they will want to work alongside you and listen to what you have to say.
Safety Is Key
Being in a familiar environment, like their own home, makes it easy for a person with Alzheimer’s to enjoy life and be cooperative with others, but over time it can be easy for their home to become dangerous. Creating a safer environment that is a little easier to control, will make it easier to care for them and help both you, the caregiver, and your loved one to remain positive about them aging in place. Start by ensuring that all of the floors and surfaces in a home are kept clear and organized. That may mean removing any rugs, cords or other obstructions.
You can also add locks to different surfaces around a home to ensure a patient does not get into any cabinets or other spaces that might contain potentially dangerous items. Don’t forget, Freudenthal offers free in-home assessments to help with creating a safe environment for your loved ones.
No matter what you are doing with an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient, always try be caring and understanding of that person’s needs. Every person with one of these diseases responds to it differently, and it’s progression can be unpredictable. If your loved one does something wrong or has a mental lapse try not to criticize them. Instead, be encouraging and supportive. Remember it’s all about providing your loved one with the dignity and support they truly deserve.
June is National Aphasia Month and we thought we’d take a look at what it is and how it can affect not only the person who has it but also their family caregivers. Aphasia is an impairment of language, affecting the ability to speak, to understand the speech of others, and even possibly the ability to read or write. Aphasia is always due to a brain injury–most commonly from a stroke, particularly in older individuals. However, brain injuries resulting in Aphasia may also arise from head trauma, brain tumors, or infections.
The affects of Aphasia are varied depending on the circumstances of each individual. It can be so severe it makes communication with the patient almost impossible, or it can be very mild. It may affect mainly a single aspect of language use, such as the ability to retrieve the names of objects, or the ability to put words together into sentences. Most commonly, multiple aspects of communication are impaired.
The impact of Aphasia on relationships may be profound, or only slight. Patience is key when communicating with a loved one struggling with Aphasia. Linda Kemper, speech therapist for Freudenthal, explains, “Imagine waking up one day and not being able to form sentences. They’re scared because they don’t know what’s happening to them and why they can’t find the words they want.” As a family caregiver it’s important to meet your loved one where they are at and do everything you can to help them communicate including using pictures and even going back to the basics of how to read and write depending on the severity of their situations.
No two people with Aphasia are alike with respect to severity, former speech and language skills, or personality. But in all cases it is essential for the person to communicate as successfully as possible from the very beginning of the recovery process. Here are some suggestions to help communicate with a person with Aphasia:
Make sure you have the person’s attention before you start.
Minimize or eliminate background noise (TV, radio, other people).
Keep your own voice at a normal level, unless the person has indicated otherwise.
Keep communication simple, but adult. Simplify your own sentence structure and reduce your rate of speech. Emphasize key words. Don’t “talk down” to the person with Aphasia.
Give them time to speak. Resist the urge to finish sentences or offer words.
Communicate with drawings, gestures, writing and facial expressions in addition to speech.
Confirm that you are communicating successfully with “yes” and “no” questions.
Praise all attempts to speak and downplay any errors. Avoid insisting that that each word be produced perfectly.
Engage in normal activities whenever possible. Do not shield people with Aphasia from family or ignore them in a group conversation. Rather, try to involve them in family decision-making as much as possible, but avoid burdening them with day to day details.
Encourage independence and avoid being overprotective.
As a family caregiver it’s always important to remember that you have a right to choose when it comes to getting care for your loved ones. It’s also important to reach out for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Don’t hesitate to call 816-676-8050 if you have any questions about getting care for you loved ones or even yourself.
National Cancer Survivors Day® is an annual, treasured Celebration of Life that is held in hundreds of communities nationwide, and around the world, on the first Sunday in June. It is a CELEBRATION for those who have survived, an INSPIRATION for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of SUPPORT for families, and an OUTREACH to the community. On National Cancer Survivors Day®, thousands gather across the globe to honor cancer survivors and to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful, rewarding, and even inspiring.
It is a day for everyone, whether you're a cancer survivor, a family member, friend, or medical professional. This day provides an opportunity for all people living with a history of cancer – including America’s more than 15.5 million cancer survivors – to connect with each other, celebrate milestones, and recognize those who have supported them along the way. It is also a day to draw attention to the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship in order to promote more resources, research, and survivor-friendly legislation to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.
This Memorial Day weekend we pause to take time and remember the men and women who sacrificed all for our freedoms. May all your families have a blessed holiday weekend.
When a person and their family caregivers decide that hospice care is the best path to take, the choice is not only medical, but also emotional and sometimes spiritual.
Hospice chaplains are a key piece of not only caring for the whole person, but also helping their families during this time of transition. While Hospice chaplains may not have all of the answers, they specialize in listening and recognizing that asking the thoughtful questions is an important part of moving toward peace.
Hospice chaplains provide support through a variety of ways, including prayer and devotion, reconciliation, and even bereavement counseling. Spiritual support is provided based on an individual’s personal beliefs.
Freudenthal Hospice chaplain Dennis Jones speaks about the role of the hospice chaplain and the impact they can have not only with the client but also with the family.
We are proud to announce that our very own Private Duty Caregiver Brenda Miller was selected to receive the Compassion Point Spring 2019 Caregiver Award. Brenda regularly goes the extra mile to exceed not only the expectations of her job, but also the expectations of the clients she takes care of.
Congratulations Brenda – you definitely are a great example of First-Class Care!
Check out our interview with Brenda below!
Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful women we call Mom!
May your day be blessed one!
Congratulations to Dr. Steven Brushwood who was inducted as President of MAOPS (Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons). We are so proud to have you as the Medical Director for Freudenthal Hospice! You are a huge blessing to our team!
He will serve as President for 2019-2020 year. As many know, Dr. Brushwood is goal oriented, an advocate for all patients and brings strong values to the table.
There are a lot of misconceptions about hospice care and many times people miss out on important care they and their families could be receiving because of them. No matter what you’ve heard, hospice is all about providing care and comfort for both patients and their family. A recent study demonstrated that family members are more satisfied with a loved one’s end of life care if they receive hospice services, with 80% of families surveyed saying their love one’s end of life wishes were followed. The focus of hospice is improving or maintaining the highest quality of life through emotional, spiritual and physical support. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s (NHPCO) 2015 report “Hospice Care in America,” 1.6 to 1.7 million people received hospice care in 2014.
In an effort to clear up the misconceptions, here are 6 things we think you really should know about hospice care and what it can do not only for the patient but also their family caregivers.
Choosing Hospice Doesn’t Mean Giving Up Hope
Based on the 1.2 million search results for “hospice is giving up," it’s not surprising why so many people believe this to be true. Hospice care is not giving up. Instead, hospice services are there to provide comfort and improve quality of life and to help carry out the wishes of the patient.
Hospice Is A Helper For Family Caregivers
Many families, especially among ethnic communities, adopt the idea that only family can take proper care of family. They can often see hospice caregivers as interlopers rather than partners in caring for their loved ones. Hospice care is meant to be a support not only for the patient but also for the family caregivers. In fact hospice care doesn’t end at the moment of death, the hospice team continues to walk beside the family for at least a year following the death of their loved one, providing services such as grief counseling, spiritual support, and more. Bereavement support is an important part of hospice services. The NHPCO report shows that 91.6% of hospice agencies offer bereavement support to community members.
You Don’t Have to Wait Until The Very End To Choose Hospice Care
Hospice care can begin when the patient’s physician gives a prognosis of six months or less if the disease follows the expected course. Hospice often provides such comfort and support that many outlive their expected prognosis. While the majority of hospice patients do pass away during hospice care, the truth is, hospice care does not speed up death. In fact, those who employ hospice care may live longer than those who choose not to use hospice services. While a patient is referred to hospice care when a doctor’s prognosis is six months or less, if the patient lives longer, hospice care can absolutely continue past that six month mark.
You Can Receive Hospice Care At Home
Another common myth is that you must “go to hospice.” This is not the case. Hospice care can often times be administered at home. In fact, most hospice patients tend to prefer receiving care at home. Hospice is a philosophy of care and can be received wherever the patient and their loved ones prefer.
You Can Afford Hospice Care
Hospice care is covered under the Medicare hospice benefit, Medicaid and most private insurance plans. That being said, you are NOT REQUIRED to have Medicare or Medicaid in order to receive hospice care. There are many different payment options available for hospice care.
Not All Hospice Providers Are The Same
Hospice programs must follow a set of rules and regulations determined by the state, however support services may differ. It is important to find one that offers the right care. Since the addition of hospice to the Freudenthal family of care services, we now can give you access to a full continuum of services to match the individual needs of our patients and their families. With access to our in-home services, family caregivers can find the support they need to carry out their daily activities while knowing their loved one is being cared for right in their own home.
If you have any other questions about hospice, please don’t hesitate to call us at 816-676-8050. We are here to help and support family caregivers, especially during these times of transition.
Resources for family caregivers can be hard to come by and tricky to navigate when they can be found. It can leave the caregiver wishing they had a guide to walk them through the entire process. That’s exactly what social workers do, they are a guide to resources. Here’s the Top 3 ways social workers can help you navigate the confusion of paperwork and phone calls.
Social workers know the resources that are available in your area and what needs to be done to obtain them. It’s difficult to know exactly what resources you or your loved ones may qualify for. Social workers may lead you to resources you never knew existed.
THEY ADVOCATE FOR YOU
Social workers are there to help and be an advocate for their clients. It can be hard to know who is on your side. There are a lot of negative stereotypes out there about social workers, but you have to remember that first and foremost, social workers are advocates for their clients and their needs.
THEY HAVE THE CONNECTIONS
Along with the knowledge base comes connections to the agencies with resources and the gatekeepers who control them. those connections are important when you’re in need of resources to help care for a loved one.
Freudenthal employs some of the most amazing social workers in the St. Joseph area who are ready to help you get the resources you need to be a family caregiver. Let them help you take some of the stress out of family caregiving and give you more time to be a family. Call 816-676-8050 today and let us know how we can help you.
Stephanie Stewart, MSN, RN-BC interviews Dr. Elizabeth Stegemöller about her vocal exercise program for people with Parkinson's disease.
Countless times we’ve heard the stories of families that are thrust into family caregiving situations and don’t know where to begin looking for help or even what questions they should be asking. Sometimes it even can feel like caregiving options are being forced on them or that they have to make decisions “right now” without researching their options.
Choosing care for a loved one is definitely a decision that deserves some thought and research, especially when that means hiring professional caregivers that will be working inside the home. High pressure tactics on the part of a medical facility can make it feel like there is no time to make the decision, but don’t let it stop you from asking these important questions.
Who owns the company?
Is it owned and managed by a family or a corporation?
Are they local and a part of our community?
If I have questions who do I talk to?
Is it the same person every time or is it a call center?
Is this person a healthcare professional?
If I have questions after hours or on the weekend, is there someone I can call?
Is the company certified by Medicare and Medicaid?
Are it’s caregivers bonded and insured through the agency?
What are their privacy practices?
What process do they use to hire and assess your caregivers?
What does the pre-employment screening look like?
Do they have additional screenings each year?
How do they evaluate your caregivers?
How often do they evaluate your caregivers?
What training do they provide to the caregivers?
How do they respond to emergencies?
What specific services do they provide?
Do they provide in-home care as well as home health & hospice care?
Will my loved one have the same caregiver every time?
What happens if the caregiver doesn’t show up on time or at all?
What if my loved one doesn’t approve of the caregiver or wants a new one?
How likely is it that Medicare Part A will cover my parent’s home health care?
What insurance plans do they accept?
Do they submit claims to the insurance agency or am I expected to do so?
What expenses, if any, are excluded?
These certainly do not cover all the questions you may have that are specific to your family caregiving situation, but they give you a place to start. Having a good place to begin your search is always important and if we can help you in any way, don’t hesitate to give Freudenthal a call and let us answer these questions for you.
NO? Well, let us introduce you to the Didiley Squats!
This beautiful group not only comes to exercise with Kelly Jarrett, PTA, they have also formed a group that meets bi-weekly to exercise even more! Doing this together gives them the kick they need to stay healthy. What an inspiration!
Low self-esteem can be deeply rooted, with origins in traumatic experiences. In later life, self-esteem can be undermined by ill health, negative life events, and a general sense of lack of control. Seniors with dementia or declining mental health can often begin to neglect their personal care and hygiene. They may start to wear the same clothes repeatedly or forget to bath and wash. Personal care is an important aspect not only of maintaining good health and hygiene, but also improving self-esteem. Good personal care can also improve the mental disposition of anyone receiving care.
Colby Murphy, Freudenthal preceptor and trainer, makes sure every caregiver he trains knows the phrase “look good, feel good!” Psychology Today agrees with Mr. Murphy, listing wearing clean clothes as #4 on their top 10 list of ways to boost self esteem.
If you or a loved one can no longer manage to make it up and down the stairs to the laundry room, don’t hesitate to call Freudenthal at 816-676-8050 and talk to us about starting personal care services. Not only do we want you to receive first-class care, we also want you to feel better about yourself. We truly care for each and every one of our clients.
It’s no secret that there are benefits to exercise, but maybe the biggest one is the friendships that are formed. Every week Kelly Jarrett, PTA goes across St. Joseph providing free exercise classes for free as a part of our efforts to give back to the community and to help promote healthier living. We’ve found that the exercise classes are starting to have a side effect though … they are generating friendships and blessings! We here at Freudenthal are blessed every day to get to know the people we go out to serve, and it’s no different with our exercise classes. We are proud to call each and every one of you members of the Freudenthal Family!
Paper Plate Valentine Heart Wreath
Paper (card stock or construction)
Cut various sizes of hearts out of your card stock or construction paper.
Cut out the inner part of the paper plate leaving the outer rim intact. You will be using the outer rim for this heart wreath craft.
Begin randomly gluing hearts onto the paper plate until you feel like you have enough hearts on your heart wreath.
Add a ribbon to the back of the plate to hang the wreath.
Making the decision to move a care dependent parent into your home is never an easy decision. Each situation is different and deserves to be thoroughly analyzed before you jump in feet first. Here are some questions that need to be addressed as you’re going through the decision process.
How will I talk to my parent about moving?
How does my spouse and children feel about moving them into our home, and how will it change our lives together?
What things will be easy for us to negotiate in living together, and what things will be hard?
What are the limits of my ability to care for my parent at home, and what if I have to put them in a nursing home?
How will my siblings feel, and how much help will they give me in caring for our parent?
Will their friends come to visit them at my house, or will they be dependent on me for all her socializing?
What are my needs for privacy and alone time?
Adapting Your Home
Where will my parent sleep—in my daughter's room, convert the den, build an addition?
What assistive devices do I need—grab bars in the bathroom, raised toilet seat, ramps, etc.?
Does my parent smoke or drink, and will that be a problem for me?
Does my parent have a pet that will be coming with them, and how will I cope with caring for it?
What will the financial arrangement be? Should I charge rent? Will I have expenses for them to cover?
How will my siblings feel about the financial arrangement?
Will my work situation have to change, and if so, how will I cover the bills?
Will my parent need care during the day, and if so, how will it be provided?
How will I juggle my job, childcare responsibilities, marriage, and taking care of my parent?
When will I be able to make the phone calls needed to make arrangements for my parent?
When will I have time for myself?
How comfortable am I with helping my parent bathe or changing an adult's diaper?
Do I know what to expect over time as my parent’s condition changes?
How is my health, and will I be able to take care of myself as well as my parent?
Am I willing to accept respite care to get a break?
If you are facing these questions, a family consultation with a Freudenthal Social Worker can help you sort out the pros and cons of such a move and provide information and resources to make things easier for you and your family. Call us at 816-676-8050 today!
“The care you give to yourself is the care you give to your loved one…”
The easiest thing for someone to say and the hardest thing to accept is the advice to take care of yourself as a Family Caregiver. It can be hard to see beyond the care tasks that await you each morning.
Study after study shows that caregiving compromises health. About 60% of caregivers show signs of clinical depression, and they take more prescription medications, including those for anxiety and depression, than non-caregivers in their age group. 75% of caregivers in America are women, some taking care of spouses/partners, some adult children taking care of parents, some parents taking care of adult children. Let’s look at what taking care of yourself means, why is it so hard to do, and how to do it.
Support and coping comes in many forms—prayer, talking to family, friends or professionals, taking walks, reading a book, eating hot fudge sundaes, and most of all saying “yes” to offers of help. Sadly most caregivers end up withdrawing from friends and family and feeling isolated and as if no one understands. Support groups can be an important source of understanding and connection.
“Guilt is cancer. Guilt will confine you, torture you. It's a black wall. It's a thief.”
As there is no “perfect parent,” there is no such thing as a “perfect” caregiver. And you are not selfish to sometimes think about yourself and your needs and feelings. Although we will feel guilty when we get angry or frustrated, these feelings are OK and a way to know how well you are coping.
Learn to ask for help. The often-heard question, “Is there anything you need?” has but one answer: Yes. “Yes, I need a meal, I need someone to stay here so I can go out, I need some time by myself, I need flowers, I need help in the garden, I need some groceries.” Learn to say “no” to requests that are draining rather than nurturing, such as hosting holiday meals. You can still make choices about your life and what is right for you and you do still have some control.
Not getting enough sleep is a major cause of illness and stress in caregivers. Exhaustion is one of the main complaints, leading to irritability and then inappropriate anger which then leads to more guilt. Know the limits of your own endurance and strength. Make sure you have regular check ups and that those “little concerns” about your health are looked into. Exercise is even more important as it gives you a break, combats depression, and helps you maintain health. Family caregivers often worry about what will happen to their loved one if something happens to them. Worrying doesn’t help — taking better care of your health does.
Learn as much as you can about the illness so that you can understand what is happening. Attend a workshop or support group, not just for emotional support but also to learn caregiving tricks to make caregiving easier. Contact someone, like a Freudenthal Social Worker, who can help you connect with community resources and use them.
Emotional Health and Respite
It is easy to become overwhelmed, thus the need for breaks. Without breaks, you begin to question yourself, feel inadequate, and experience burn out. Family Caregivers need time away and scheduling respite care can be exactly what “the doctor ordered.” Having a family member or even calling Freudenthal to schedule care so you can get a break from time to time is important for you health.
Another stressor of caregiving is seeing no end to the situation. Having a life and connections outside of caregiving helps you to maintain perspective, so that caregiving doesn't become oneʼs only reality. Sometimes, your best and only defense is a sense of humor. Find people or situations to laugh at daily. It refreshes the soul and renews your spirit.
…disease does not need to define anyone, a person does not need to give the disease that power. Instead, a person with a chronic disease may need to define his or her life in a way that is different than it was prior to the onset of the disease.Read More